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Pup & Young Dog Development Specialist 4 (PYDDS4) is a science and practical-based education course that looks at modern research on the rearing and development of pups and adolescent dogs (from birth to around 15 months of age). This is an entirely new course specifically developed for industry professionals involved in these specialist fields. 

The program covers in detail all aspects of pup and young dog rearing & development that impact the dog's later psychosocial attitudes, temperament, confidence, cooperative schema, and of course its behaviour. 


Live & Recorded Online Sessions
Practical Sessions also available


Self-Paced Learning 
Guideline: 130 - 170 hours


Advanced Certificate


During a dog’s early development, we are looking to build the mindset, conceptual worldview and associations that will be productive and adaptive during future interaction and training activities.

In effect, we are “programming” the pups' very plastic brains through communication, education & experiences to perceive the world the way we want, based on each dog’s future roles and tasks. We are looking to develop high levels of social competence, confidence and resilience, that prepare the dog for its future life, roles and tasks.

A significant aspect in the early development and education of pups is developing a schema of cooperation & collaboration.
This cognitive schema significantly enhances proactive interaction and trainability and reduces problematic behaviour.

So much of the foundation training, particularly with pups involves developing their perceptions about things in the world. At the top of the list is the dog’s perception of us, the owners & trainers. Attention to this needs to be a priority during training activities and all interactions.’ (Professional Trainer, Dave Haywood)

The PYDDS4 course focuses heavily on modern scientific research, and information from leading breeders and professional trainers, that has updated and enhanced our understanding of the subject in the 21st century. Of course, the program covers historic knowledge regarding topics such as critical periods of development, early neurological stimulation, environmental enrichment of pups, and so on, however, most of what is out there in popular books and on the internet (and on most courses) is decades old, and by no means cutting-edge or optimal for the development of easy to manage and high-performance dogs.

This new information, including significant changes to rearing &. conditioning protocols, and the introduction of the SECOND periods, has changed the way we raise pups to such an extent that it is referred to by many industry leaders s as ‘the new synthesis of pup and young dog development’. This course goes in-depth into the applied technology and procedures that are now available to optimise our dog's development regardless of breed or purpose.

Another significant benefit of the new knowledge and technology that has emerged over recent years relates to our ability to prevent the myriad of problematic psychosocial and behavioural issues that have been effectively “created” by insufficient or incorrect early exposure, experiences and schema development.

To a large degree maladaptive fears & phobias, anxiety disorders, hypersensitivity, and significant separation stress/anxiety are now things of the past based on this new knowledge and applied protocols. This is a big claim, however as it turns out, the vast majority of these problems, particularly the more serious cases,  were due to the fact that we were not doing the right things at the right time with our pups. 

This course takes an in-depth look at comparing the original (now largely considered antiquated) ideas and protocols (most developed 50+ years ago) and the new information and applied technologies.

We are aware that student's will have different reasons for completing this course and as such there are 2 elective modules.
The first covers the assessment process and protocols to determine a pup’s suitability for specific roles and tasks. It covers the criteria and evaluation process for a diverse range of working and service dog roles, and assessment for suitability in domestic & companion dog roles. The second elective module covers dealing with (managing & modifying) behavioural problems in pups and young dogs. Both are optional (zero cost) modules for those who require education or competencies in these areas.

The course is a generic program and is therefore relevant to persons from all fields of dog breeding, training, and behaviour modification. The course has been designed for and is highly recommended to breeders, pup raisers and trainers from all sectors, particularly those involved with working & service dogs and persons who are responsible for rearing and developing pups.

The PYDDS4 is not an entry-level program and applicants will need to provide evidence of prior learning in a relevant area of animal learning, training or breeding to be eligible for this course.

Due to the detailed nature of this program, students will require the CERT Academy Applied Canine Behaviour & Learning 3 (ACBL3) course. As this is the first time we are offering these courses to the general public, they will run concurrently. 
When you enrol for the Pup & Young Dog Development Specialist 4 course you will automatically be enroled in the Applied Canine Behaviour & Learning 3 course, so you do not have to do this separately.
ACBL3 is currently included at no additional charge for those undertaking this PYDDS4 course. 
The PYDDS4 program can be conducted entirely by distance learning if you prefer that option as it makes use of extensive and detailed instructional videos taking you through all aspects of this specialist field. 

In addition, those who prefer a more 'hands-on' approach are invited to attend practical training sessions at our facilities working with a diverse range of pups and young dogs under development.

Students are provided with a highly detailed and comprehensive e-manual, and other learning resources.


  • Heredity & Selection: Genetic influences on temperament & behaviour 
  • Prenatal influence on behaviour & cognitive development
  • Optimising maternal care & the neonatal environment 
  • Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) & human handling (inc. enhanced protocols)
  • Pup & Young Dog (P&YD) development periods (2022 updated version)
  • Physiological, Psychosocial & Cognitive Maturation
  • Sensory capacity & motor skill development in pups
  • Breeder's roles & responsibilities in early development 
  • The new synthesis: optimal protocols for building confidence, competence & cooperation 
  • Social competence & development of prosocial attitude 
  • The imprinting of ideas & proactive schema development
  • SECOND periods: The development of robust environmental confidence & resilience 
  • Developing & promoting adaptive coping strategies 
  • Litter separation protocols & homing guidelines for pups
  • Development of social cognition & effective communication
  • Adaptive learning & productive response strategies 
  • Stages of learning in applied P&YD education 
  • Constructive behaviour modification & differential reinforcement 
  • Motivation & applied performance incentives  
  • Drive building & incentive optimisation strategies 
  • Functional early learning task training activities 
  • Instructional design & task engineering for pups & young dogs 
  • Identifying optimal timing & sequence for teaching skills sets & behaviours 
  • Training method & protocol selection for different tasks & stages of development 

Optional / Elective Modules  (not required for certification)

  • Assessment & Evaluation of pups for future roles & tasks [No additional fee]
  • Problem behaviours in pups: Management & Rectification Strategies [No additional fee]
N.B. As advised above, this course includes the CERT Academy 'Applied Canine Behaviour & Learning 3' (ACBL3) course. Please also review the course subjects and modules on that program.


All CERT Academy courses are designed to provide flexibility, allowing students to work around their lifestyle and work commitments.

This program can be conducted entirely by distance learning for those students who prefer that option.
Online delivery is conducted via live Zoom sessions, assigned video & PowerPoint presentations and reading material.
A significant percentage of the online learning in this program involves viewing highly detailed & comprehensive training videos, so it's not "death by PowerPoint". The live Zoom sessions are recorded so that students who are unable to attend a particular live session/s can access the video recordings at a time that suits them.

Students are provided with a comprehensive, detailed and fully illustrated colour e-manual and additional learning resources.
The PYDDS4 course incorporates extensive use of instructional and real-world training videos that take students through every detail of the methods and procedures utilised in achieving optimal outcomes for pups and young dogs.

We also run regular live group Zoom Q&A sessions with our instructional team and special subject matter expert guests. These sessions provide a great opportunity for students to join the team and their fellow students in discussing the course material and to ask questions.

Students wishing to do some face-to-face “hands-on” training are invited to attend practical training sessions at our training facilities. We continually have pups and young dogs being developed for diverse roles & tasks and encourage students to be involved in all aspects of their education. We have sessions running each week and students can attend by booking in advance through the Training Coordinator. For students living remotely to our facilities, and international students that want to visit Australia, we run periodic block training sessions throughout the year.

Students are provided with all required course material and learning resources for the program however, it is recommended that certain books be purchased by students to further develop their knowledge. A list of recommended books will be provided.

Assessments are a combination of ‘open book’ multiple-choice assessments, live Zoom group Q&A sessions, and two assignment presentations to demonstrate the student’s knowledge and competency.

International students are welcome to apply. Our team has provided extensive training and professional development courses to international students and agencies.

Please contact our Course Coordinator at info@certacademy.com.au if you have any questions.


Although there is a competency requirement to complete the course, students are not required to attend most of the live online sessions if their schedule doesn’t permit it. The online Zoom sessions are recorded, giving students full access to presentations in their own time. This allows students to progress at their own rate and review the learning resources as required.

Students are welcome to attend all sessions relating to their selected modules.


The timeline to complete this course is relatively flexible.
As long as all components of the course are completed,
 the workload can be tailored around individual students' commitments. Thus, the hours listed here should only be considered as an approximate guideline


130 - 170 hours


5 hours per week x 30 weeks


The maximum time permitted to complete the course is
 15 months from commencement, however, students may request additional time under exceptional circumstances.
The Academy’s policy is to allow flexibility within reasonable parameters.


Due to the advanced nature of the training offered in this course, persons who have no (or limited) previous relevant background will require relevant education prior to admission.

Examples of relevant backgrounds for admission to this course may include:

  • Persons who have conducted a formal education program, such as a course on zoology, psychology, behavioural ecology, or veterinary science for example.
  • Persons who have completed (or are currently doing) the Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training, or Steve & Vicki Austin's Dog Training Behaviour Certificate, or other noted and substantial dog behaviour/trainer education program (not a short course).
  • Dog trainers with strong working knowledge of behavioural and learning science.
  • Persons with significant experience in related fields such as veterinary nurses, shelter workers etc.
  • Persons with significant experience as a pup raiser or dog handler in an agency or organisation.

An important point to note is that there is an expectation that anyone doing this course already has a solid working knowledge of animal behaviour and learning theory, and the basics of dog behaviour modification. If applicants do not have this knowledge,
then this program is not recommended.

Prospective applicants with no previous education or background relating to the above can email us to discuss options.

All applicants who do have the requisite knowledge & experience are required to submit evidence of such prior to the commencement of the PYDDS4 Course. We will review all submissions and respond to applicants directly.

Students must have basic computer skills and have access to a computer or laptop and a stable internet connection for online learning.

Student LLN requirements: Students are required to be able to read and write in English for this course.
For international students for whom English is not their primary language please refer all enquiries to our Course Coordinator.

Please email any questions and/or required correspondence to our Course Coordinator at info@certacademy.com.au 


This is not an entry-level course so the expectation is that all applicants already have relevant background or education. Based on this, any application for RPL/RCC would only be considered if the individual has significant relevant education or professional background relating to the subject matter. Refer to the prerequisite section above for guidelines.

RPL/RCC is available for elements of this course. Applicants must be able to provide evidence of courses they have completed, and/or professional references, along with a detailed current summary of evidence to be eligible for RPL/RCC.

Students must email an initial request for RPL/RCC, including their summary, to our Course Coordinator, at info@certacademy.com.au  We will review all requests and contact applicants directly.


Advanced Certificate: Pup & Young Dog Development Specialist 4

This course has been developed in line with the nationally recognised qualification: Diploma of Canine Training and Development 10777NAT. This means that students who successfully complete this PYDDS4 course will be eligible to
apply for recognition of prior learning for the Diploma. 
Successful graduates from this course also receive an additional qualification:

Technical Certificate: Applied Canine Behavior & Learning 3

(*Samples only. Not the actual certificates for these courses)



Course Cost: $3,050 (AUD) including GST

We offer commercial rates to agencies and specialist organisations. Rates are subject to the number of agency participants. Please send enquiries to info@certacademy.com.au for further details.

Terms & Conditions of Enrolment:

Before you enrol for the Pup & Young Dog Development Specialist 4 course, please make sure you have the required experience and/or background as explained above. 

Applicants who have completed - or are currently doing - the NDTF CERT III in Dog Behaviour & Training, or other relevant education, will automatically qualify and can enrol without concern.
This also applies to persons who have significant relevant knowledge from other sources. Our main concern is to ensure that applicants for this course have a significant working knowledge of applied animal psychology, behaviour science and learning principles. If you have this knowledge please enrol.

All applicants must submit the requisite evidence demonstrating their relevant education and/or experience.

You can email us the summary of your relevant experience and/or supporting documents via the button below.

Once you have done this please proceed to the Enrol & Pay section below. 

As always if you have any questions please email the Course Coordinator at info@certacademy.com.au

Enrol & Pay

Payment is required at the time of enrolment for this course.  

Payments can be made via Stripe, PayPal or AfterPay.

You can pay the full $3,050 upfront, alternatively we offer 3 or 6 month payment plans via Stripe through our payment gateway (fees and terms & conditions apply). Payment Plan options & details can be found when you click the Enrol & Pay button below. Under Payment Methods you will see a dropdown box that says Payment Plans. You can choose your preferred payment option there. 

If for any reason we determine that your application does not meet our terms & conditions, we will contact you to discuss your options. These may include:

  • CERT Academy refunds your payment (minus any bank or credit card, and/or related fees) to the account it was paid from. 

or if you wish  

  • CERT Academy can hold on to your enrolment information and payment until you are able to meet the requisite terms & conditions of enrolment.

As a reminder, when you enrol in this course you will automatically be enrolled in the Applied Canine Behaviour & Learning 3  course which is currently included at no additional charge for those undertaking this PYDDS4 course. 

If you are satisfied you have met all these conditions and want to enrol on this course, please proceed.

We look forward to having you join us.
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